Once again, we have been inundated with flooding and ongoing rain.  My heart goes out to all of those affected by this ongoing deluge across the state and here in the Lithgow Region and our Seven Valleys.  I thank our Council crews, local Emergency Services, Integral Energy and everyone, who has once again braved dangerous conditions to keep our community safe.  

I welcome the announcement on Monday, 4 July that Council has been included in the list of 23 Councils eligible for disaster assistance.  This quick response by the State and Commonwealth Governments will enable us to commence recovery operations, assisting with the costs of cleanup, and restoring damaged roads and essential community assets once this major weather event passes.   Council teams are continuing to inspect roads to assess the conditions and this will be ongoing.

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop on 27 June to discuss issues related to alcohol and other drugs, identified through recent local youth surveys conducted by the Lithgow Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) as part of the International Planet Youth Program.  Lithgow is one of two local government areas in Australia participating in the 5-year pilot program by Iceland’s Planet Youth, which commenced in 2019 and I am excited to see the progress made with this program.    The workshop focused on the results of the second survey undertaken by year 10 students in Lithgow, provided an understanding of the alcohol and other drug experiences of our young people, and looked at opportunities for action. Council will continue to support LDAT to deliver services, which provide health and educational outcomes for our youth in line with the Planet Youth Project. For more information on Planet Youth Lithgow, visit www.planetyouthlithgow.org or follow them on Facebook @planetyouthlithgow.

Council’s annual Operational Plan, adopted on 27 June has a key focus on maintaining existing service levels and infrastructure.  I am pleased to say that we have also been successful in gaining NSW Government funding to improve facilities, undertake important environmental studies and works to ensure the safety of our communities during fire and flood.  The Operational Plan outlines Council’s budget for 2022/23 and can be viewed on Council’s website.    Some of the key projects for 2022/23 are: 

  • $5.288m for the construction of the Cullen Bullen Sewerage Scheme (Resources for Regions – Round 4).
  • $1.2m for Main Street Footpath Renewal as part of the CBD Revitalisation Program (Regions Round 8 and Streets as Shared Spaces Program).
  • $350k to upgrade the Civic Ballroom for use as an evacuation facility & $250k for the Wolgan Valley Evacuation Plan (Bushfire Community Resilience & Recovery Fund – Phase 2).
  • $200k for the installation of solar panels at the JM Robson Aquatic Centre (Stronger Country Communities Fund)
  • $300k for the installation of trunk main infrastructure to Portland Foundations (Resources for Regions – Round 7).
  • $180k for Hassans Walls Environmental Studies; Flora & Fauna Study, Recreation Track Audit of Hassans Walls Reserve and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (Resources for Regions – Round 8).
  • $5m upgrade to Airlie Creek, Coco Creek and own Creek timber bridges on the Glen Davis Road in the Capertee Valley (Fixing Country Bridges Program).